Henry went into partnership with John Wright, a sugar refiner based at Manesty Lane, Liverpool. Their partnership ended in 1869 and Tate’s two sons, Alfred and Edwin joined the business forming Henry Tate & Sons. A new refinery in Love Lane, Liverpool was opened in 1872.
The sugar cube was invented by Eugen Langen and David Martineau in Germany in 1875. That same year, Henry Tate bought the rights to the technology and introduced cube sugar to the UK.
Unlike today, at this time there were 74 refineries in the UK, many small businesses run by families such as the MacFies, Martineaus, Fairries, Walkers and Kerrs. It was in this competitive marketplace that Henry Tate and Abram Lyle started their respective sugar businesses, with Thames Refinery specialising in cube sugar.
Abram Lyle & Sons started melting sugar at Plaistow Refinery, only a short distance from Henry Tate & Son's Thames Refinery. Lyle’s Golden Syrup was an instant hit and Lyle was soon selling a tonne a week.
These iconic green and gold tins feature the world’s oldest branding. Originally made in small quantities and sold in wooden casks to employees and locals, as demand grew, casks were swapped for large dispensers found on the shelves of grocery stores. Today, more than a million of these same tins leave Plaistow each month.
American entrepreneur Augustus Eugene (Gene) Staley was buying bulk starch cheaply, repackaging it under his own Cream Starch label, and selling it for a good profit. When his suppliers realised that he was serious competition, they joined together to cut off his supply of raw materials. Staley then responded by setting up the A E Staley Manufacturing Company.
Marquis, a cattle feed importer, was set up in Liverpool by Sir Michael Kroyer Kielberg from Denmark. The company began shipping molasses in bulk, using a custom-built 3,000-ton storage tank in Hull.
In 1925 Kielberg moved to London and renamed his company United Molasses. As he sourced new, low-cost molasses, he needed a longer-range, faster fleet, so launched the Athel Line with 16 vessels. This fleet saw many losses to enemy action during World War II.
In 1937 Kielberg sold his Liverpool sugar refinery to Tate & Lyle and in return was invited to become a co-investor in the company’s new West Indies raw sugar venture. This was the beginning of a prosperous relationship between the two companies.
Kielberg retired in 1953, and ten years later United Molasses was bought by Tate & Lyle.
Staley’s business made a range of food and industrial ingredients from starches and cereal sweeteners with different functional properties.
Rival businesses, Henry Tate & Sons and Abram Lyle & Sons merged, between them refining around 50% of the UK’s sugar. A tactical merger, this new company would then become a coherent force on the sugar market in anticipation of competition from foreign sugar returning to its pre-war strength.
Tate & Lyle was one of the original founder constituents of the FT-30 index and remains the only constituent from the original index still listed today.
Producing around 14,000 tons a week, it became necessary to build a new pan house at Plaistow to cope with the huge increase in output. It was an impressive building, standing at 180ft high (about 55m), but unfortunately, soon after became a target for the Luftwaffe.
Clement Attlee’s Labour government pursued a policy of nationalisation for key UK industries in 1949 and the British sugar industry (Tate & Lyle), was included in their plan.
A board meeting at Tate & Lyle on February 10th marked the beginning of a fierce campaign to thwart the Government's plans. Mr Cube, a cartoon character drawn by artist Bobby St John Cooper spearheaded the campaign.
Mr Cube became a household name, appearing on sugar packets, in the press and even traveling the country with the ‘Speakers’ Team’ made up of Tate & Lyle employees. Mr Cube helped to present the Company's successful case for continued independence.
With the acquisition of United Molasses (originally named Marquis), Tate & Lyle became the world leader in molasses trading.
Sucralose, the no-calorie sweetener was discovered by Tate & Lyle in partnership with researchers at Queen Elizabeth College, University of London. Tate & Lyle went on to develop the product in partnership with McNeil Nutritionals LLC (a Johnson & Johnson company) to create SPLENDA® Sucralose.
Alcântara dates back to 1890 when John Peter Hornung began exploring sugar cane production in Mozambique and set up the 'Companhia do Assucar de Mocambique'. Mozambique was a Portuguese colony, so Hornung decided that Lisbon was the right place to build a refinery. ‘Refinaria Colonial’ in Alcântara, was opened in 1909 by King Manuel II and his uncle, Don Afonso and produced around 400 tons a week.
By 1950, Refinaria Colonial had become Sidul (Sociadade Industrial do Ultramar). Mozambique gained independence in 1975, and in 1980 a new company, Alcântara – Sociedade de Empreendimentos Açucareiros, SA, was formed which owned Sidul, the Lisbon refinery. In 1989 Alcântara bought Sores (Sociedade de Refinadores de Santa Iria, SA) and Sidul and Sores merged to form Alcântara Refinarias Açucares, SA.
The Sidul refinery closed in 1994 and all production was moved to Santa Iria. Today the refinery continues to make Portugal’s two famous retail sugar brands, Sidul and Sores.
A prosperous year, Tate & Lyle acquired 90% of the A E Staley Manufacturing Co. and increased its stake in Amylum to 63%.
After acquiring Haarmann & Reimer, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, Tate & Lyle became the world's leading producer of citric acid.
Tate & Lyle acquired the outstanding minority interests of both companies to establish our worldwide sweeteners and starches business.
Tate & Lyle and DuPont announce a new joint venture in the US to produce Bio-PDO™, a textile polymer ingredient made from renewable resources for use in their fabric, DuPont™ Sorona®. Made from renewable resources, Bio-PDO™ replaces petrochemicals, and its production uses less energy with fewer emissions than synthetic production methods.
In April 2004 Tate & Lyle realigned its agreements with McNeil Nutritionals. Under the new agreement, Tate & Lyle became the sole manufacturer of SPLENDA® Sucralose, and responsible for global sales of the product as an ingredient to food and beverage manufacturers, while McNeil Nutritionals owned the SPLENDA® trademark and became responsible for global sales and marketing of SPLENDA® No-Calorie Sweetener tabletop and food service products to consumers.
Italian company, Cesalpinia was established in the 1960s as a producer of natural flavours and later diversified into manufacturing and marketing natural gums and stabilisers.
Lyle’s Golden Syrup tin design is named by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest branding. The green and gold Victorian-style design has hardly changed since first produced in 1885 although the tin was made of strong cardboard during the war when metal was in short supply. Abram Lyle’s strong religious beliefs are the reason why the tin features a quotation from the Bible: "Out of the strong came forth sweetness".
Tate & Lyle acquired US speciality food ingredients company Continental Custom Ingredients (CCI). CCI was founded in 1975, and became a recognised leader in dairy stabilisers and emulsifier systems, working closely with customers to develop ingredient systems for the North American market.
With an investment of £25 million over a five-year period, Tate & Lyle set up a wholly-owned venture fund, Tate & Lyle Ventures. The fund invests in start-ups and expansion-stage companies that support Tate & Lyle’s strategic growth focus to deliver next-generation food and industrial ingredients.
A new Sucralose plant opened on Jurong Island in Singapore.
Tate & Lyle acquired an 80% holding in German speciality food ingredients group G. C. Hahn & Co (Hahn).
Hahn was founded in 1848 as a privately-owned company. A recognised leader in dairy stabiliser systems, Hahn works closely with customers across the world to develop customised ingredient solutions. Its headquarters and primary operations are located in Lübeck, Germany, and it also has production operations in the UK and Australia, and sales offices in 22 countries.
DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, LLC, an equally-owned joint venture of DuPont and Tate & Lyle, opened its new facility to produce 1,3-propanediol (Bio-PDO™) from renewable resources.
Tate & Lyle sold five European starch plants (part of the Amylum business) to Syral SAS (a subsidiary of Tereos of France).
Tate & Lyle opened a satellite Research & Development facility in Shanghai, China, specialising in beverage, dairy and bakery applications.
Centre was opened to develop new and innovative ingredients with clinically proven health benefits in the fields of weight management, digestive health, vitality and healthy ageing.
Hahn joined Cesalpinia Food and Tate & Lyle’s stabliser businesses in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, which were already trading under the Tate & Lyle name.
The company sold its sugar business (EU operations), including the Lyle’s Golden Syrup brand, to American Sugar Refining, Inc (ASR) and ended its long association with refined sugar production.
The “Tate & Lyle Sugar” name was licensed to ASR to ensure the familiar “Tate & Lyle” brand remains on supermarket shelves. Later that year, the global molasses and storage business was sold to W&R Barnett Ltd.
Tate & Lyle commissioned a new STA-LITE® Polydextrose line, the first of its kind in Europe, at its plant in Koog, the Netherlands, in response to increasing demand for functional food ingredients. STA-LITE® Polydextrose, a soluble fibre, is a premium, low-calorie bulking agent used to provide body and texture in reduced-calorie, no-added-sugar and / or high-fibre foods.
New Global Shared Services Centre opened to provide all back-office functions for finance, payroll and IT.
Tate & Lyle bought Biovelop, a Swedish manufacturer of oat beta glucan. Now known as Tate & Lyle Oat Ingredients, the business uses a unique chemical-free technology to manufacture high-quality oat beta glucan, a soluble fibre with widely approved health claims.
Winway Biotechnology Nantong is leading producer of polydextrose fibre. It became our third polydextrose facility globally, in addition to existing lines in the Netherlands and the US.
In December 2014, Tate & Lyle and Gemacom Tech, leading domestically-owned stabiliser business in Brazil, have formed a joint venture called Tate & Lyle Gemacom Tech.
The company acquired full ownership of the speciality-focused plant in Slovakia. This strengthened our Speciality Food Ingredients business whilst reducing our European Bulk Ingredients footprint by exiting the Bulk Ingredients plants in Bulgaria, Turkey and Hungary.
Tate & Lyle entered into an agreement to acquire a 15% equity holding in Sweet Green Fields, becoming the exclusive global distributor of their portfolio. Sweet Green Fields is one of the largest privately held, fully integrated global stevia ingredient companies.
In December 2018, we acquired the remaining shares in our Brazilian joint venture, Tate & Lyle Gemacom, and now own 100% of the company. This business enhances our strong position in stabilisers, and in the diary category, in Brazil.
In March 2019 we completed the sale of our oat ingredients business in Kimstad, Sweden, to Swedish agricultural cooperative Lantmännen.
In 2019 we celebrate our 160th anniversary in the world of ingredients. From humble beginnings in a factory in Liverpool to now serving customers in 30 countries from over 70 locations, our desire to improve lives for generations has only grown stronger.
In December 2020, we acquired Sweet Green Fields (SGF), a leading global stevia solutions business. This acquisition followed a three year partnership: In 2017, we became the exclusive distributor of SGF’s stevia-based ingredients and solutions, then in 2018 we acquired a 15% stake in the business, which we extended to full ownership in 2020.
In February 2021 we acquired an 85% shareholding of Chaodee Modified Starch (CMS) Co., Ltd, a well-established tapioca modified food starch manufacturer based in Thailand. The acquisition extends our presence in speciality tapioca-based texturants and establishes a dedicated production facility in the main tapioca region of eastern Thailand. This acquisition enables us to offer a broader range of solutions to meet the need for better tasting and clean label food in categories including dairy, bakery, snacks, noodles, soup, sauces and dressings, as well as expand our manufacturing footprint in the Asia Pacific region.
The Primary Products business (bulk sweeteners, acidulants, industrial starches, personal care, co-products, ethanol) was rebranded as Primient on 1 March 2022. It remained wholly owned by Tate & Lyle until the agreed sale of a controlling interest to KPS closed on 1 April 2022. Visit Primient.com here >
At a glance
Tate & Lyle is a vibrant, global and hardworking environment. Our purpose is Transforming Lives Through the Science of Food and all our people have an important part to play in making this happen.